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1.
Microb Cell Fact ; 21(1): 21, 2022 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1666655

ABSTRACT

We have developed a method for the inexpensive, high-level expression of antigenic protein fragments of SARS-CoV-2 proteins in Escherichia coli. Our approach uses the thermophilic family 9 carbohydrate-binding module (CBM9) as an N-terminal carrier protein and affinity tag. The CBM9 module was joined to SARS-CoV-2 protein fragments via a flexible proline-threonine linker, which proved to be resistant to E. coli proteases. Two CBM9-spike protein fragment fusion proteins and one CBM9-nucleocapsid fragment fusion protein largely resisted protease degradation, while most of the CBM9 fusion proteins were degraded at some site in the SARS-CoV-2 protein fragment. All of the fusion proteins were highly expressed in E. coli and the CBM9-ID-H1 fusion protein was shown to yield 122 mg/L of purified product. Three purified CBM9-SARS-CoV-2 fusion proteins were tested and found to bind antibodies directed to the appropriate SARS-CoV-2 antigenic regions. The largest intact CBM9 fusion protein, CBM9-ID-H1, incorporates spike protein amino acids 540-588, which is a conserved region overlapping and C-terminal to the receptor binding domain that is widely recognized by human convalescent sera and contains a putative protective epitope.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Escherichia coli/metabolism , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/biosynthesis , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Mass Spectrometry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Receptors, Cell Surface/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/analysis , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/genetics , Recombinant Fusion Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
2.
Nat Immunol ; 23(2): 275-286, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661973

ABSTRACT

The humoral arm of innate immunity includes diverse molecules with antibody-like functions, some of which serve as disease severity biomarkers in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The present study was designed to conduct a systematic investigation of the interaction of human humoral fluid-phase pattern recognition molecules (PRMs) with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Of 12 PRMs tested, the long pentraxin 3 (PTX3) and mannose-binding lectin (MBL) bound the viral nucleocapsid and spike proteins, respectively. MBL bound trimeric spike protein, including that of variants of concern (VoC), in a glycan-dependent manner and inhibited SARS-CoV-2 in three in vitro models. Moreover, after binding to spike protein, MBL activated the lectin pathway of complement activation. Based on retention of glycosylation sites and modeling, MBL was predicted to recognize the Omicron VoC. Genetic polymorphisms at the MBL2 locus were associated with disease severity. These results suggest that selected humoral fluid-phase PRMs can play an important role in resistance to, and pathogenesis of, COVID-19, a finding with translational implications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , C-Reactive Protein/immunology , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Chlorocebus aethiops , Complement Activation , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Glycosylation , HEK293 Cells , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mannose-Binding Lectin/genetics , Mannose-Binding Lectin/immunology , Mannose-Binding Lectin/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Polymorphism, Genetic , Protein Binding , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/genetics , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serum Amyloid P-Component/immunology , Serum Amyloid P-Component/metabolism , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells
3.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 414(5): 1773-1785, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653430

ABSTRACT

Nucleic acid tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been performed worldwide since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the quality assessment of testing laboratories and the performance evaluation of molecular diagnosis products, reference materials (RMs) are required. In this work, we report the production of a lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM containing approximately 12 kilobases of its genome including common diagnostics targets such as RdRp, N, E, and S genes. The RM was measured with multiple assays using two different digital PCR platforms. To measure the homogeneity and stability of the lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM, reverse transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) was used with in-house duplex assays. The copy number concentration of each target gene in the extracted RNA solution was then converted to that of the RM solution. Their copy number values are measured to be from 1.5 × 105 to 2.0 × 105 copies/mL. The RM has a between-bottle homogeneity of 4.80-8.23% and is stable at 4 °C for 1 week and at -70 °C for 6 months. The lentiviral SARS-CoV-2 RM closely mimics real samples that undergo identical pre-analytical processes for SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing. By offering accurate reference values for the absolute copy number of viral target genes, the developed RM can be used to improve the reliability of SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Genome, Viral , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , Gene Dosage , Gene Expression , Humans , Jurkat Cells , Lentivirus/genetics , Lentivirus/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , RNA, Viral/standards , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/supply & distribution , Reference Standards , Reproducibility of Results , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Genome Packaging
4.
ACS Chem Neurosci ; 13(1): 143-150, 2022 01 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637498

ABSTRACT

First cases that point at a correlation between SARS-CoV-2 infections and the development of Parkinson's disease (PD) have been reported. Currently, it is unclear if there is also a direct causal link between these diseases. To obtain first insights into a possible molecular relation between viral infections and the aggregation of α-synuclein protein into amyloid fibrils characteristic for PD, we investigated the effect of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 proteins on α-synuclein aggregation. We show, in test tube experiments, that SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (S-protein) has no effect on α-synuclein aggregation, while SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) considerably speeds up the aggregation process. We observe the formation of multiprotein complexes and eventually amyloid fibrils. Microinjection of N-protein in SH-SY5Y cells disturbed the α-synuclein proteostasis and increased cell death. Our results point toward direct interactions between the N-protein of SARS-CoV-2 and α-synuclein as molecular basis for the observed correlation between SARS-CoV-2 infections and Parkinsonism.


Subject(s)
Amyloid , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , alpha-Synuclein , Amyloid/metabolism , COVID-19 , Humans , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , alpha-Synuclein/metabolism
6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 167, 2021 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585891

ABSTRACT

The ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 has posed a worldwide pandemic and a major global public health threat. The severity and mortality of COVID-19 are associated with virus-induced dysfunctional inflammatory responses and cytokine storms. However, the interplay between host inflammatory responses and SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein, the major structural protein of the virion, promotes the virus-triggered activation of NF-κB signaling. After binding to viral RNA, N protein robustly undergoes liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS), which recruits TAK1 and IKK complex, the key kinases of NF-κB signaling, to enhance NF-κB activation. Moreover, 1,6-hexanediol, the inhibitor of LLPS, can attenuate the phase separation of N protein and restrict its regulatory functions in NF-κB activation. These results suggest that LLPS of N protein provides a platform to induce NF-κB hyper-activation, which could be a potential therapeutic target against COVID-19 severe pneumonia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , NF-kappa B/metabolism , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , A549 Cells , Acrylates/pharmacology , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , HeLa Cells , Humans , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/metabolism , Inflammation/pathology , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Vero Cells
7.
Infect Genet Evol ; 97: 105195, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586990

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the RNA virus responsible for COVID-19, the prognosis of which has been found to be slightly worse in men. The present study aimed to analyze the expression of different mRNAs and their regulatory molecules (miRNAs and lncRNAs) to consider the potential existence of sex-specific expression patterns and COVID-19 susceptibility using bioinformatics analysis. The binding sites of all human mature miRNA sequences on the SARS-CoV-2 genome nucleotide sequence were predicted by the miRanda tool. Sequencing data was excavated using the Galaxy web server from GSE157103, and the output of feature counts was analyzed using DEseq2 packages to obtain differentially expressed genes (DEGs). Gene set enrichment analysis (GSEA) and DEG annotation analyses were performed using the ToppGene and Metascape tools. Using the RNA Interactome Database, we predicted interactions between differentially expressed lncRNAs and differentially expressed mRNAs. Finally, their networks were constructed with top miRNAs. We identified 11 miRNAs with three to five binding sites on the SARS-COVID-2 genome reference. MiR-29c-3p, miR-21-3p, and miR-6838-5p occupied four binding sites, and miR-29a-3p had five binding sites on the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Moreover, miR-29a-3p, and miR-29c-3p were the top miRNAs targeting DEGs. The expression levels of miRNAs (125, 181b, 130a, 29a, b, c, 212, 181a, 133a) changed in males with COVID-19, in whom they regulated ACE2 expression and affected the immune response by affecting phagosomes, complement activation, and cell-matrix adhesion. Our results indicated that XIST lncRNA was up-regulated, and TTTY14, TTTY10, and ZFY-AS1 lncRN as were down-regulated in both ICU and non-ICU men with COVID-19. Dysregulation of noncoding-RNAs has critical effects on the pathophysiology of men with COVID-19, which is why they may be used as biomarkers and therapeutic agents. Overall, our results indicated that the miR-29 family target regulation patterns and might become promising biomarkers for severity and survival outcome in men with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , MicroRNAs/genetics , RNA, Long Noncoding/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Computational Biology/methods , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus M Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus M Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Databases, Genetic , Female , Gene Expression Regulation , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Male , MicroRNAs/classification , MicroRNAs/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , RNA, Long Noncoding/classification , RNA, Long Noncoding/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Sex Factors , Signal Transduction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Viruses ; 14(1)2021 12 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580417

ABSTRACT

Different serological assays were rapidly generated to study humoral responses against the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein. Due to the intrinsic difficulty of working with SARS-CoV-2 authentic virus, most serological assays use recombinant forms of the Spike glycoprotein or its receptor binding domain (RBD). Cell-based assays expressing different forms of the Spike, as well as pseudoviral assays, are also widely used. To evaluate whether these assays recapitulate findings generated when the Spike is expressed in its physiological context (at the surface of the infected primary cells), we developed an intracellular staining against the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) to distinguish infected from uninfected cells. Human airway epithelial cells (pAECs) were infected with authentic SARS-CoV-2 D614G or Alpha variants. We observed robust cell-surface expression of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike at the surface of the infected pAECs using the conformational-independent anti-S2 CV3-25 antibody. The infected cells were also readily recognized by plasma from convalescent and vaccinated individuals and correlated with several serological assays. This suggests that the antigenicity of the Spike present at the surface of the infected primary cells is maintained in serological assays involving expression of the native full-length Spike.


Subject(s)
Cell Membrane/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody-Dependent Cell Cytotoxicity , Bronchioles/cytology , Cells, Cultured , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Neutralization Tests , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
9.
Nature ; 602(7897): 487-495, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585830

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern suggests viral adaptation to enhance human-to-human transmission1,2. Although much effort has focused on the characterization of changes in the spike protein in variants of concern, mutations outside of spike are likely to contribute to adaptation. Here, using unbiased abundance proteomics, phosphoproteomics, RNA sequencing and viral replication assays, we show that isolates of the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant3 suppress innate immune responses in airway epithelial cells more effectively than first-wave isolates. We found that the Alpha variant has markedly increased subgenomic RNA and protein levels of the nucleocapsid protein (N), Orf9b and Orf6-all known innate immune antagonists. Expression of Orf9b alone suppressed the innate immune response through interaction with TOM70, a mitochondrial protein that is required for activation of the RNA-sensing adaptor MAVS. Moreover, the activity of Orf9b and its association with TOM70 was regulated by phosphorylation. We propose that more effective innate immune suppression, through enhanced expression of specific viral antagonist proteins, increases the likelihood of successful transmission of the Alpha variant, and may increase in vivo replication and duration of infection4. The importance of mutations outside the spike coding region in the adaptation of SARS-CoV-2 to humans is underscored by the observation that similar mutations exist in the N and Orf9b regulatory regions of the Delta and Omicron variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Immune Evasion , Immunity, Innate/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Immunity, Innate/genetics , Interferons/immunology , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phosphorylation , Proteomics , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development
10.
Adv Sci (Weinh) ; 9(3): e2103248, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527412

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and can cause severe multiple organ injury and death. Kidney is one of major target organs of COVID-19 and acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in critically ill COVID-19 patients. However, mechanisms through which COVID-19 causes AKI remain largely unknown and treatment remains unspecific and ineffective. Here, the authors report that normal kidney-specifically overexpressing SARS-CoV-2 N develops AKI, which worsens in mice under ischemic condition. Mechanistically, it is uncovered that SARS-CoV-2 N-induced AKI is Smad3-dependent as SARS-CoV-2 N protein can interact with Smad3 and enhance TGF-ß/Smad3 signaling to cause tubular epithelial cell death and AKI via the G1 cell cycle arrest mechanism. This is further confirmed in Smad3 knockout mice and cells in which deletion of Smad3 protects against SARS-CoV-2 N protein-induced cell death and AKI in vivo and in vitro. Most significantly, it is also found that targeting Smad3 with a Smad3 pharmacological inhibitor is able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 N-induced AKI. In conclusion, the authors identify that SARS-CoV-2 N protein is a key mediator for AKI and induces AKI via the Smad3-dependent G1 cell cycle arrest mechanism. Targeting Smad3 may represent as a novel therapy for COVID-19-asscoaited AKI.


Subject(s)
Acute Kidney Injury , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , G1 Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints , SARS-CoV-2 , Smad3 Protein , Acute Kidney Injury/genetics , Acute Kidney Injury/metabolism , Acute Kidney Injury/virology , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mice, Knockout , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Smad3 Protein/genetics , Smad3 Protein/metabolism
11.
Infect Genet Evol ; 96: 105155, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525880

ABSTRACT

The present study aimed to predict the binding potential of carbon nanotube and nano fullerene towards multiple targets of SARS-CoV-2. Based on the virulent functions, the spike glycoprotein, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, main protease, papain-like protease, and RNA binding domain of the nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2 were prioritized as the molecular targets and their three-dimensional (3D) structures were retrieved from the Protein Data Bank. The 3D structures of carbon nanotubes and nano-fullerene were computationally modeled, and the binding potential of these nanoparticles to the selected molecular targets was predicted by molecular docking and molecular dynamic (MD) simulations. The drug-likeness and pharmacokinetic features of the lead molecules were computationally predicted. The current study suggested that carbon fullerene and nanotube demonstrated significant binding towards the prioritized multi-targets of SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, carbon nanotube showed better interaction with these targets when compared to carbon fullerene. MD simulation studies clearly showed that the interaction of nanoparticles and selected targets possessed stability and conformational changes. This study revealed that carbon nanotubes and fullerene are probably used as effectual binders to multiple targets of SARS-CoV-2, and the study offers insights into the experimental validation and highlights the relevance of utilizing carbon nanomaterials as a therapeutic remedy against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Fullerenes/metabolism , Nanotubes, Carbon , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/chemistry , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/metabolism , Fullerenes/chemistry , Fullerenes/pharmacokinetics , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Nanotubes, Carbon/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/chemistry , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Proteins/metabolism
12.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524171

ABSTRACT

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a main receptor for SARS-CoV-2 entry to the host cell. Indeed, the first step in viral entry is the binding of the viral trimeric spike (S) protein to ACE2. Abundantly present in human epithelial cells of many organs, ACE2 is also expressed in the human brain. ACE2 is a type I membrane protein with an extracellular N-terminal peptidase domain and a C-terminal collectrin-like domain that ends with a single transmembrane helix and an intracellular 44-residue segment. This C-terminal segment contains a PDZ-binding motif (PBM) targeting protein-interacting domains called PSD-95/Dlg/ZO-1 (PDZ). Here, we identified the human PDZ specificity profile of the ACE2 PBM using the high-throughput holdup assay and measuring the binding intensities of the PBM of ACE2 against the full human PDZome. We discovered 14 human PDZ binders of ACE2 showing significant binding with dissociation constants' values ranging from 3 to 81 µM. NHERF, SHANK, and SNX27 proteins found in this study are involved in protein trafficking. The PDZ/PBM interactions with ACE2 could play a role in ACE2 internalization and recycling that could be of benefit for the virus entry. Interestingly, most of the ACE2 partners we identified are expressed in neuronal cells, such as SHANK and MAST families, and modifications of the interactions between ACE2 and these neuronal proteins may be involved in the neurological symptoms of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/chemistry , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , PDZ Domains , Proteins/chemistry , Proteins/metabolism , Receptors, Coronavirus/metabolism , Humans , Microtubule-Associated Proteins/chemistry , Microtubule-Associated Proteins/metabolism , Nerve Tissue Proteins/chemistry , Nerve Tissue Proteins/metabolism , Neurons/metabolism , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , /metabolism , Protein Transport , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers/chemistry , Sodium-Hydrogen Exchangers/metabolism , Sorting Nexins/chemistry , Sorting Nexins/metabolism
13.
FEBS Lett ; 595(23): 2872-2896, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1516705

ABSTRACT

The current work investigated SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (NCAP or N protein) interactors in A549 human lung cancer cells using a SILAC-based mass spectrometry approach. NCAP interactors included proteins of the stress granule (SG) machinery and immunoregulators. NCAP showed specific interaction with the SG proteins G3BP1, G3BP2, YTHDF3, USP10 and PKR, and translocated to SGs following oxidative stress and heat shock. Treatment of recombinant NCAP with RNA isolated from A549 cells exposed to oxidative stress-stimulated NCAP to undergo liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS). RNA degradation using RNase A treatment completely blocked the LLPS property of NCAP as well as its SG association. The RNA intercalator mitoxantrone also disrupted NCAP assembly in vitro and in cells. This study provides insight into the biological processes and biophysical properties of the SARS-CoV-2 NCAP.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , /metabolism , A549 Cells , Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , DNA Helicases/metabolism , Humans , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Poly-ADP-Ribose Binding Proteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , RNA Helicases/metabolism , RNA Recognition Motif Proteins/metabolism , RNA-Binding Proteins/metabolism , Ubiquitin Thiolesterase/metabolism , eIF-2 Kinase/metabolism
14.
Front Immunol ; 12: 736529, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1515533

ABSTRACT

Various authors have hypothesized carotid body (CB) involvement in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), through direct invasion or indirect effects by systemic stimuli ('cytokine storm', angiotensin-converting enzyme [ACE]1/ACE2 imbalance). However, empirical evidence is limited or partial. Here, we present an integrated histopathological and virological analysis of CBs sampled at autopsy from four subjects (2 males and 2 females; age: >70 years old) who died of COVID-19. Histopathological, immunohistochemical and molecular investigation techniques were employed to characterize Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2) viral invasion and inflammatory reaction. SARS-CoV2 RNA was detected in the CBs of three cases through Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). In these cases, positive immunostaining for Nucleocapsid and Spike protein were also demonstrated, mainly at the level of large roundish cells consistent with type I cells, confirming direct CB invasion. In these cases, T lymphocytes showed focal aggregations in the CBs, suggestive of local inflammatory reaction. Blood congestion and microthrombosis were also found in one of the positive cases. Intriguingly, microthrombosis, blood congestion and microhaemorrages were also bilaterally detected in the CBs of the negative case, supporting the possibility of COVID-19 effects on the CB even in the absence of its direct invasion. SARS-CoV-2 direct invasion of the CB is confirmed through both immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR, with likely involvement of different cell types. We also reported histopathological findings which could be ascribed to local and/or systemic actions of SARS-CoV-2 and which could potentially affect chemoreception.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Carotid Body , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Autopsy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Carotid Body/pathology , Carotid Body/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Humans , Male , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
15.
Cell Host Microbe ; 29(12): 1788-1801.e6, 2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1509671

ABSTRACT

Previous work found that the co-occurring mutations R203K/G204R on the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) protein are increasing in frequency among emerging variants of concern or interest. Through a combination of in silico analyses, this study demonstrates that R203K/G204R are adaptive, while large-scale phylogenetic analyses indicate that R203K/G204R associate with the emergence of the high-transmissibility SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7. Competition experiments suggest that the 203K/204R variants possess a replication advantage over the preceding R203/G204 variants, possibly related to ribonucleocapsid (RNP) assembly. Moreover, the 203K/204R virus shows increased infectivity in human lung cells and hamsters. Accordingly, we observe a positive association between increased COVID-19 severity and sample frequency of 203K/204R. Our work suggests that the 203K/204R mutations contribute to the increased transmission and virulence of select SARS-CoV-2 variants. In addition to mutations in the spike protein, mutations in the nucleocapsid protein are important for viral spreading during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genome, Viral , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Cricetulus , Epithelial Cells/pathology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Models, Molecular , Mutagenesis , Phosphoproteins/chemistry , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Phylogeny , Protein Conformation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Selection, Genetic , Severity of Illness Index , Virion/genetics , Virion/growth & development , Virion/pathogenicity , Virulence , Virus Replication
16.
Science ; 374(6575): 1626-1632, 2021 Dec 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501519

ABSTRACT

Efforts to determine why new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants demonstrate improved fitness have been limited to analyzing mutations in the spike (S) protein with the use of S-pseudotyped particles. In this study, we show that SARS-CoV-2 virus-like particles (SC2-VLPs) can package and deliver exogenous transcripts, enabling analysis of mutations within all structural proteins and at multiple steps in the viral life cycle. In SC2-VLPs, four nucleocapsid (N) mutations found universally in more-transmissible variants independently increased messenger RNA delivery and expression ~10-fold, and in a reverse genetics model, the serine-202→arginine (S202R) and arginine-203→methionine (R203M) mutations each produced >50 times as much virus. SC2-VLPs provide a platform for rapid testing of viral variants outside of a biosafety level 3 setting and demonstrate N mutations and particle assembly to be mechanisms that could explain the increased spread of variants, including B.1.617.2 (Delta, which contains the R203M mutation).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Cell Line , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Humans , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Plasmids , RNA, Messenger/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Genome Packaging , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/metabolism , Virus Internalization
17.
J Am Soc Nephrol ; 32(2): 357-374, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496662

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Injury to kidney podocytes often results in chronic glomerular disease and consecutive nephron malfunction. For most glomerular diseases, targeted therapies are lacking. Thus, it is important to identify novel signaling pathways contributing to glomerular disease. Neurotrophic tyrosine kinase receptor 3 (TrkC) is expressed in podocytes and the protein transmits signals to the podocyte actin cytoskeleton. METHODS: Nephron-specific TrkC knockout (TrkC-KO) and nephron-specific TrkC-overexpressing (TrkC-OE) mice were generated to dissect the role of TrkC in nephron development and maintenance. RESULTS: Both TrkC-KO and TrkC-OE mice exhibited enlarged glomeruli, mesangial proliferation, basement membrane thickening, albuminuria, podocyte loss, and aspects of FSGS during aging. Igf1 receptor (Igf1R)-associated gene expression was dysregulated in TrkC-KO mouse glomeruli. Phosphoproteins associated with insulin, erb-b2 receptor tyrosine kinase (Erbb), and Toll-like receptor signaling were enriched in lysates of podocytes treated with the TrkC ligand neurotrophin-3 (Nt-3). Activation of TrkC by Nt-3 resulted in phosphorylation of the Igf1R on activating tyrosine residues in podocytes. Igf1R phosphorylation was increased in TrkC-OE mouse kidneys while it was decreased in TrkC-KO kidneys. Furthermore, TrkC expression was elevated in glomerular tissue of patients with diabetic kidney disease compared with control glomerular tissue. CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that TrkC is essential for maintaining glomerular integrity. Furthermore, TrkC modulates Igf-related signaling in podocytes.


Subject(s)
Kidney Diseases/metabolism , Nephrons/metabolism , Receptor, IGF Type 1/metabolism , Receptor, trkC/metabolism , Animals , Case-Control Studies , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Kidney Diseases/etiology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Podocytes/metabolism , Signal Transduction/physiology
18.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488759

ABSTRACT

We aimed to explore whether variants of SARS-CoV-2 (Chinese-derived strain (D614, lineage A), Italian strain PV10734 (D614G, lineage B.1.1) and Alpha strain (lineage B.1.1.7)) were able to infect monocytes (MN) and monocyte-derived macrophages (MDM) and whether these infected cells may, in turn, be vectors of infection. For this purpose, we designed an in vitro study following the evolution of MN and MDM infection at different time points in order to confirm whether these cells were permissive for SARS-CoV-2 replication. Finally, we investigated whether, regardless of viral replication, the persistent virus can be transferred to non-infected cells permissive for viral replication. Thus, we co-cultured the infected MN/MDM with permissive VERO E6 cells verifying the viral transmission. This is a further in vitro demonstration of the important role of MN and MDM in the dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 and evolution of the COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
Macrophages/virology , Monocytes/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coculture Techniques , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Humans , Macrophages/ultrastructure , Monocytes/ultrastructure , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication
19.
Eur J Med Chem ; 227: 113966, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487705

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unprecedented in human history. As a major structural protein, nucleocapsid protein (NPro) is critical to the replication of SARS-CoV-2. In this work, 17 NPro-targeting phenanthridine derivatives were rationally designed and synthesized, based on the crystal structure of NPro. Most of these compounds can interact with SARS-CoV-2 NPro tightly and inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. Compounds 12 and 16 exhibited the most potent anti-viral activities with 50% effective concentration values of 3.69 and 2.18 µM, respectively. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis of NPro and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) assays revealed that 12 and 16 target N-terminal domain (NTD) of NPro by binding to Tyr109. This work found two potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 bioactive compounds and also indicated that SARS-CoV-2 NPro-NTD can be a target for new anti-virus agents.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Phenanthridines/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Animals , Antiviral Agents/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Binding Sites , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Survival/drug effects , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Drug Design , Humans , Kinetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Phenanthridines/metabolism , Phenanthridines/pharmacology , Phenanthridines/therapeutic use , Phosphoproteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Structure, Tertiary , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells
20.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(20)2021 Oct 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470888

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) became a globally leading public health concern over the past two years. Despite the development and administration of multiple vaccines, the mutation of newer strains and challenges to universal immunity has shifted the focus to the lack of efficacious drugs for therapeutic intervention for the disease. As with SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and other non-respiratory viruses, flavonoids present themselves as a promising therapeutic intervention given their success in silico, in vitro, in vivo, and more recently, in clinical studies. This review focuses on data from in vitro studies analyzing the effects of flavonoids on various key SARS-CoV-2 targets and presents an analysis of the structure-activity relationships for the same. From 27 primary papers, over 69 flavonoids were investigated for their activities against various SARS-CoV-2 targets, ranging from the promising 3C-like protease (3CLpro) to the less explored nucleocapsid (N) protein; the most promising were quercetin and myricetin derivatives, baicalein, baicalin, EGCG, and tannic acid. We further review promising in silico studies featuring activities of flavonoids against SARS-CoV-2 and list ongoing clinical studies involving the therapeutic potential of flavonoid-rich extracts in combination with synthetic drugs or other polyphenols and suggest prospects for the future of flavonoids against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Flavonoids/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus 3C Proteases/metabolism , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Flavonoids/chemistry , Flavonoids/pharmacology , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Phosphoproteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Rhinovirus/drug effects , Rhinovirus/physiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Virus Internalization/drug effects
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